John Speller's Web Pages Royston & Hitchin Railway

John Speller's Web Pages - GNR
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The useful cross-country line from Hitchin on the Great Northern main line to Cambridge on the Great Eastern main line is still operating successfully today. The Royston & Hitchin Railway was incorporated by an Act of 16 July 1846 to build a line from the Great Northern Railway at Hitchin to the town of Royston, and the line opened in 1851. Meanwhile the Great Eastern Railway was building a line from Shelford, just south of Cambridge, to Shepreth, as part of an abortive scheme for a line from Cambridge to Bedford, which was subsequently built by the London & North Western Railway along a different route. This line opened in 1852. In anticipation of this and Act of 1848 enabled the Great Northern to complete the link between Royston and Shapreth, and the entire route was completed in 1853. The line from Hitchin to Shapreth became part of the Great Northern Railway, but the Shapreth Branch continued under the ownership of the Great Eastern Railway until both lines became part of the LNER in 1923. The Great Eastern Railway was at first reluctant to allow the Great Northern Railway into Cambridge station, and for the first fourteen years the Great Eastern ran the whole route, although it owned only around a quarter of it, but from 1866 the Great Northern took over and worked the whole route until the Grouping of 1923.
Diesel multiple unit at Baldock station on the Royston & Hitchin Railway, 16 April 1961. Image Copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Meldreth station in around 1900. Note the ornamental bargeboards on the up station buildings and the typical Great Northern somersault signal
Shepreth station, 6 July 2008. Image Copyright Nigel Cox and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
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